Welcome 2017 – it’s been a week! To begin my new journey this year, I’d like to do another year wrap up to review all my milestones throughout 2016. Unlike my 2015 Wrap Up!, this time I’m keeping it simple to only 6 points. Not that many, but these 6 things have definitely made big impact for my life. Let’s start!
- Supporting CRUELTY-FREE makeup and household products [JAN 2016]
To start this beautiful year of 2016, I committed myself to only purchase cruelty-free makeup and household products. Since the end of 2015, I’ve been researching a lot about this cruelty-free movement in the Internet. The more I learned about how makeup and household products were often tested on animals, the more I became sure that I don’t want to be someone who’s consuming those evil products!
Okay, I’m gonna step back here and explain what “cruelty-free” means, in case you’re not familiar with this term yet. To determine whether a product is cruelty-free or not, you may check these following 5 things:
>> Does the company use ingredients that were tested on animals for their product?
>> Does the company conduct animal testing in the making of the product?
>> Does the company conduct animal testing on the finished product?
>> Does the company pay third party to conduct animal testing on their product?
>> Does the company sell their product in (mainland) China?*
*For the 5th point, FYI, the government of (mainland) China still requires imported products to be tested on animals before they go for sale in the shops. Therefore, any company that claims to be cruelty-free but still have their products sold in physical shops in (mainland) China, must have a third party that conducts the animal testing on behalf of them. Basically, they prioritize their profit more than the welfare of the poor animals used in those testing labs.
Some brands are cruelty-free, but they belong to a non-cruelty-free parent company, for example:
– The Body Shop, owned by L’Oreal
– NARS, owned by Shiseido
– Murad, owned by Unilever
You can either have a positive or a negative perspective towards this:
(+) You buy products from a cruelty-free company with non-cruelty-free parent company in hope that the parent company will someday turn cruelty-free as well since they see there’s a high number of customers who care about the production process.
(-) You don’t buy products from a cruelty-free company with non-cruelty-free parent company because you don’t like the idea of contributing profit that goes up to the non-cruelty-free parent company.
So, for this, it’s up to you, how you perceive it. As for me, I chose to be the (+) type of customer, as I believe customers’ voices matter, and good changes will happen in the future. I know some people are quite skeptical about this commitment I made to myself, since I am not a vegetarian (just yet, maybe), but at least I’m doing something for those animals. To me, there’s a difference between eating animals and torturing animals for subsidiary products like lipstick or toilet cleaning liquid.
So far, my biggest cruelty-free guru is Suzi from Cruelty-Free Kitty blog. You may check her blog as well to learn more about cruelty-free products. I hope you’ll support this movement, too! Make a world a better place for animals, guys.
- Trying Keratin treatment for my hair [MAR 2016]
Now maybe you’re wondering why I consider getting Keratin treatment for my hair as one of my biggest milestones this year.
Well, if you have known me for quite some time in the past, you’ll know that I wasn’t the best person to consult about hair maintenance, haha! I washed my hair everytime I took a shower, always let it dry naturally, barely brushed it, and often applied harmful chemicals on it such as annual rebonding treatment. Trust me, it is not something you want to follow.
And then I heard about this Keratin treatment, which was invented in Brazil for girls who live in tropical places and desperately wanting to tame their frizzy hair. This treatment kind of makes your hair more straight, but it is not permanent like rebonding. It is safe to repeat the treatment every 3-4 months if you want. The more often you have this treatment, the healthier your hair gets.
As for me, it is almost a year since I tried this treatment for the first time, and I can still feel its effect until now. The key is also to know how to treat the hair after washing it (once every 2 days is recommended). Drying it with a hair dryer and coat the hair with argan oil is the best way to maintain your Keratin-treated hair.
I did get compliments about how my hair looks naturally smooth, black, and thick from some friends – thanks to this Keratin treatment! I can definitely feel that it’s much easier as well to manage my hair since then. So I guess I’m gonna give this treatment another shot in 2017!
Note: I did this Keratin treatment in ZenRed Hair Studio Bangkok, and they used QOD which is also a cruelty-free brand.
- Meeting Claudia Kaunang [APR 2016]
Alright, moving on from the beauty department!
A girl can only dream to meet her idol one day. As a girl, I idolize quite a number of people, and mostly girls as well – excuse me for being a bit of a feminist sometimes. One of these girls (or women) that I look up to, is Ms. Claudia Kaunang, an Indonesian travel writer who’s traveled to 60 countries and published 10 travel books.
I read one of her books, Rp2,5 Juta Keliling Jepang, before flying to Japan last year. I love the way she always inserted her interesting personal experiences in all the information and tips she wrote in her book. It feels very personal yet still very informative at the same time. I also admire how she engaged in local culture and managed her budget very well during the trip.
I’ve been very lucky to have her getting invited to my office while she was bringing her group for her Thailand tour program. We got to share about our travel experiences to each other. It’s just so inspiring how she managed to convince a lot of Indonesian women to go traveling. A lot of Indonesian girls are, indeed, still hesitant in traveling abroad – especially solo. Not only they are hesitant, some of them are even told by their husbands or families that a woman traveling alone is a sin! I mean, what the hell?! Well, I bet you can guess what kind of small-minded people who would do/say such thing, though, but I’m not gonna talk about that here.
So yeah, Ms. Kaunang did get a few problems/protests from this kind of people, but good thing that she managed to get rid of these issues and now still continue traveling and inspiring other women to do the same! I personally feel that meeting her somehow reminded me of my passion in traveling, and also writing. Being a writer is actually one of my oldest dreams, which I kind of abandoned since a while ago. But now I guess the dream’s back on track, and hopefully someday I can be an accomplished writer as Ms. Kaunang!
- Upgrading my gadgets to Apple [JUN 2016]
As a part of getting my dream (of becoming a writer) back on track, I decided to upgrade my gadgets this year. To be fair, I am not a gadget freak, nor a gadget trend follower, so this decision was not made just because of wanting to look cool or something. I don’t need certain gadgets to look cool anyway. Ha!
I received some good reviews and recommendations from some friends who had switched to Apple products earlier, and it started to influence me to consider switching as well. I listened to friends who had experience with other brands before, cause they are the ones who know how to compare the quality of each brand.
It took me a while to finally tell myself, “Okay, let’s buy an Apple now, girl!”. It’s because I’m not a type of person who normally spends money on gadget, and for me, Apple is definitely not cheap. So it better be good!
In June, I finally gave up on my black Samsung Note II who had served me for 3 years. Goodbye Samsung, and hello rose gold iPhone 6s! In September, I also got a MacBook Air 11″ – leaving my Toshiba Satellite C55-A for Jutet only (we had been sharing 1 laptop for 2 years since someone broke into our house in Bali and stole all our gadgets, LOL).
So far, I have been more impressed by MacBook rather than iPhone. I feel like some other brands for phones (e.g. Samsung, Sony) can keep up with iPhone, especially for the camera. But MacBook just feels so different. It really gives you another level of quality and ease for a notebook. I enjoy very much blogging using my MacBook Air 11″. Besides, its size and weight is just perfect to bring for traveling. But then again… my favorite thing about Apple? It’s the iTunes, to be honest!
- Getting married! [SEP 2016]
So I’ve reached this stage of life where I finally made a (really) serious commitment with a guy. When I was younger, I always told my mom I would never ever get married, haha. As I grew older, I realized that marriage is not a bad thing – if you have it with a right person.
Okay, so how do you define a right person, Misha? To me, the right person is someone who loves you and whom you love (of course), someone who shares some dream or interest in common with you (now it’s getting cliché), and most importantly – someone who’s on the same level of intelligence with you. Believe me, guys, it’s so SO important. Also, for me personally, I would go for someone who doesn’t have the same personality as mine, cause then it’ll not be compatible.
Not everyone is lucky enough to quickly find “the right person”. Surely there are some people who met their soulmates when they were still very young, and then they just grew up together, continued being adorable love birds until they’re old, and all those sounds-like-fairytale stories. But everyone knows that most people had to be with a few (or many?) wrong partners before figuring out what, or who, they wanted. Jutet and I are obviously no exception. And, of course, there is no guarantee that we’ll remain as the right person for each other forever. Sometimes, people change. We can only hope that what we have will last – and I guess every couple does the same.
One thing that people should know is that marriage is NOT for everyone. There are people who feel much better or much more comfortable being alone, or at least not being with the same partner for long term – and THAT IS OKAY. There’s nothing wrong with not having a husband or a wife, or with not wanting to be married! It is also okay if you are over 25 – or whatever age your society kind of ‘demands’ you to be married – and still single. Married or single are both totally fine. It should not define you as a person. Cause even when you’re married, you are still yourself, and you should still have the right to do the things you like – of course by compromising to what your partner likes as well.
To be honest, I always thought that I would get married after 32. I really never expected that I could do it 5 years too early… ha. I love Jutet because, to begin with, I can totally be myself when I’m around him. I never felt like I needed to pretend in front of him. I’ll tell you something – I wore pyjamas on our first date! With him, it’s always so casual and so real. I can be as weird as possible, and I know he can always accept me for who I am. Other than that, I can write a long blog post about all the great qualities I see in him, but if I have to describe him in 3 words – okay maybe 5, it’ll be: passionate, knowledgable, sharp, humble, and sincere. He’s a man with goals and a very kind heart. I can even say that, if you don’t like Jutet, then there must be something wrong with you. You’re probably either jealous, or just one of his subordinates in his kitchen team… LOL!!!
PS: We don’t wear wedding rings. Instead, we bought each other a wedding gift. Jutet gave me the MacBook Air and I gave him a Japanese Deba knife. Cheers to that!
- Traveling for 77 days in Europe [SEP – NOV 2016]
I would consider this one as my biggest milestone this year, both as a person and as a self-claimed traveler. I have planned this trip for 1.5 years, and I’m very proud of myself to finally make it happen. Some people doubted it that I would be able to visit 18 countries in 1 trip – but hey, I did it!
As this was also my first solo trip, it has taught me to be more courageous, independent, and adaptable – as a person. I learned to be more resourceful for myself and to become a better schedule organizer. Of course, a huge credit goes to my friends in Europe, who had also helped me a lot throughout the way. The trip wouldn’t be the same without them. Oh, and also for my team at work for letting me do my #workation during the travel – and this is the reason why I could travel for a long period!
As a traveler, this so-called 77 Days of Euro Trip has set a high standard for my next ones. It’s just very clear now that traveling is truly my passion… something that I had started doing since a very young age (thanks to mom and my grandma who took me traveling a lot), and it’s something I want to keep doing for the rest of my life.
I’m not gonna tell the full story of the trip here, as I have other blog posts detailing my travel experiences, so feel free to browse my “TRAVEL” menu on top. I will publish a new post every week or two.
So those are all my 6 big stuff for 2016… It’s officially a wrap then! I look forward for more exciting journey in 2017. Let’s make this year another wonderful one! xxx